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2014-09-15 11:26 AM

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Subject: Advice for RDs and Swim Safety Vols from a DFL swimmer
I posted this to Marathon Swimmers forum but it applies to Triathlon as well:

1) Always remember that you are GREATLY appreciated. We have much love for you and what you do for us.

2) It's demoralizing when the kayakers hover around me like a gang of buzzards waiting for the last gasp of a beached fish. I got a good idea that I'm DFL when the pack swam over me as they lapped me. Just because I'm slow does not mean I'm in trouble. Please give me some space.

3) Please don't park your kayak between the swimmers and the sighting/turn bouys. I stay in a perpetual state of semi-lostness anyway and it doesn't help when you're blocking my view of the mark.

4) Please don't wear clothing that matches the colors of the marks. Sighting for me is a challenge on the best of days and it's a mental beating when I figure out that the mark I've been trying to swim to is a kayaker in a blaze orange T-shirt.

5) If your race rules states a cut off time for the race, please allow that much time. 3.5 hours for a 10k is pushing it for me anyhow. I know everyone has places to go and things to do but I'd like to know how close I can get to the 10k within the time allotted. (Yesterday, at Swim for the Potomac, the rules stated 3.5 hrs and they closed the course at about 2:20. I drove 5 hours, slept in a $200.00 hotel room and didn't get my full 3.5 hours of race time. It made me sad.)

6) When in doubt, refer to suggestion #1.

Cheers,

Tortuga


2014-09-15 11:48 AM
in reply to: La Tortuga

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Subject: RE: Advice for RDs and Swim Safety Vols from a DFL swimmer

Originally posted by La Tortuga I posted this to Marathon Swimmers forum but it applies to Triathlon as well: 1) Always remember that you are GREATLY appreciated. We have much love for you and what you do for us. 2) It's demoralizing when the kayakers hover around me like a gang of buzzards waiting for the last gasp of a beached fish. I got a good idea that I'm DFL when the pack swam over me as they lapped me. Just because I'm slow does not mean I'm in trouble. Please give me some space. 3) Please don't park your kayak between the swimmers and the sighting/turn bouys. I stay in a perpetual state of semi-lostness anyway and it doesn't help when you're blocking my view of the mark. 4) Please don't wear clothing that matches the colors of the marks. Sighting for me is a challenge on the best of days and it's a mental beating when I figure out that the mark I've been trying to swim to is a kayaker in a blaze orange T-shirt. 5) If your race rules states a cut off time for the race, please allow that much time. 3.5 hours for a 10k is pushing it for me anyhow. I know everyone has places to go and things to do but I'd like to know how close I can get to the 10k within the time allotted. (Yesterday, at Swim for the Potomac, the rules stated 3.5 hrs and they closed the course at about 2:20. I drove 5 hours, slept in a $200.00 hotel room and didn't get my full 3.5 hours of race time. It made me sad.) 6) When in doubt, refer to suggestion #1. Cheers, Tortuga

No kidding! I had this issue at my last OWS. I understand the need to be visable but there are many colors of high vis!

Sorry you had a bad experience. My hat is off to you for attempting a 10k swim!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

2014-09-15 11:52 AM
in reply to: rrrunner

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Subject: RE: Advice for RDs and Swim Safety Vols from a DFL swimmer

I don't see a problem with closing a course, in any event, when it becomes obvious that the people left won't make a cutoff.  The longer a course is open the more liability there is for the race.  It sucks, but it's not necessarily bad business.

2014-09-15 12:35 PM
in reply to: Left Brain


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Subject: RE: Advice for RDs and Swim Safety Vols from a DFL swimmer
Great advice! Most races I have done, the swim safety volunteers have been a god send.

The exception was IMWI, which sadly, but truthfully, was because they had a bunch of college age volunteers on their SUPs and kayaks. They seriously inhibited my race as they stood on their paddle boards taking selfies and floated into my line, as they went back and forth in front of me to change who was in the pictures and who was taking the pictures, and whether to have the lake in the background, or the shore line in the background, and then there were those who were there to help their friends site and planted themselves between me and their friend, even though the friend was farther out than I was, so when the friend moved back in closer to the buoys, I was in their way and they ran into me. FOUR. TIMES. once two of them ran into me at a triangle. The one kayaker at least said, "oops, sorry" but then went back to trying to get her phone back from the other kayaker and I had to swim backwards to get around them.

as we rounded the last turn, there were several kayaks helping friends, some swimmers with multiple kayaks, and as the swim area narrowed, they did not peel off, instead, they crammed all their kayaks, me, and their buddies in the narrowing area. Yes, I am slow, but I have made great improvements in my swim this year and IMWI I was having one of my best swims ... until I found myself swimming next to a packs buddy. From their the swim was a nightmare. At one point I stopped and asked the kayak that had just hit me, could you please have those kayaks in front please move to the side so I can see? I can't see the finish line or the buoys. His response, "they are helping their friends." I made the cutoff with time to spare, but the swim was extremely demoralizing and left a bad taste in my mouth regarding the obtuseness of the volunteers I would encounter the remainder of the race. not a good place to be with 138 miles to go.

I almost always appreciate the volunteers, but if you have so many that they are playing games and inhibiting the swimmers, you need to say no and limit it to a reasonable number.

2014-09-15 1:38 PM
in reply to: La Tortuga

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Subject: RE: Advice for RDs and Swim Safety Vols from a DFL swimmer
I hear you on #2. It kind of freaked me out in one race because I was swimming solidly, just slowly. It made me really self-conscious, which did not help.

OTOH, I would like to say a big "thank you" to the blond dude in the red and black kayak at the Savageman 30 on Saturday. I have never struggled in the water before (well, aside from speed, but that isn't the same thing). The whitecaps were over my head, and I couldn't clear my lungs, and actually felt fear. Thank you for letting me hang off the bow of your boat while I coughed up some water and recovered for a minute, and for checking on me after a couple minutes to see if I was still doing OK.
2014-09-15 2:57 PM
in reply to: Raansnel

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Subject: RE: Advice for RDs and Swim Safety Vols from a DFL swimmer

Originally posted by Raansnel Great advice! Most races I have done, the swim safety volunteers have been a god send. The exception was IMWI, which sadly, but truthfully, was because they had a bunch of college age volunteers on their SUPs and kayaks. They seriously inhibited my race as they stood on their paddle boards taking selfies and floated into my line, as they went back and forth in front of me to change who was in the pictures and who was taking the pictures, and whether to have the lake in the background, or the shore line in the background, and then there were those who were there to help their friends site and planted themselves between me and their friend, even though the friend was farther out than I was, so when the friend moved back in closer to the buoys, I was in their way and they ran into me. FOUR. TIMES. once two of them ran into me at a triangle. The one kayaker at least said, "oops, sorry" but then went back to trying to get her phone back from the other kayaker and I had to swim backwards to get around them. as we rounded the last turn, there were several kayaks helping friends, some swimmers with multiple kayaks, and as the swim area narrowed, they did not peel off, instead, they crammed all their kayaks, me, and their buddies in the narrowing area. Yes, I am slow, but I have made great improvements in my swim this year and IMWI I was having one of my best swims ... until I found myself swimming next to a packs buddy. From their the swim was a nightmare. At one point I stopped and asked the kayak that had just hit me, could you please have those kayaks in front please move to the side so I can see? I can't see the finish line or the buoys. His response, "they are helping their friends." I made the cutoff with time to spare, but the swim was extremely demoralizing and left a bad taste in my mouth regarding the obtuseness of the volunteers I would encounter the remainder of the race. not a good place to be with 138 miles to go. I almost always appreciate the volunteers, but if you have so many that they are playing games and inhibiting the swimmers, you need to say no and limit it to a reasonable number.

That whole scenario is ridiculous! I would have been furious as you should have been. IMWI is such a well-run race generally, that it's surprising to hear of these kinds of shenanigans. I'd be sure to let the race director know by e-mail. Further, the race rules specifically exclude "pacers" of any sort, and i'm pretty sure friends on SUPs and kayaks would violate at least the spirit if not the letter of the rule.



2014-09-15 3:44 PM
in reply to: La Tortuga

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Subject: RE: Advice for RDs and Swim Safety Vols from a DFL swimmer

Just to offer a different perspective, I volunteered at an Oly earlier this year. 

There were no posted cutoff times, but one guy in M35-39 took 1h:36m to do the 1500M swim.  I wouldn't even call what he was doing a dog paddle. 

He was the last one in the water by close to an hour.  The RD considered pulling him, but the guy's wife politicked to let him continue and the RD agreed.   Of course by the time he finished he had a whole flotilla of kayaks escorting him, mostly because they had nothing else to do.

What this guy didn't think about was that there were about 100 volunteers who had to man the course for a couple of hours more than they planned in order to let him finish.

I've spent most of my triathlon at the BOP, so I'm sympathetic to being slow, but there's slow and then there's SLOW.  I think athletes need to be reasonably prepared before entering an event, and they should certainly be considerate of all the volunteers who make events possible.

Mark 

 

 

 

 

2014-09-15 4:11 PM
in reply to: La Tortuga

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Subject: RE: Advice for RDs and Swim Safety Vols from a DFL swimmer

I've been last out of the water once maybe twice.

I can relate to number 2. I do recall the hoovering of the kayaks and being asked if I trained for the swim. Yah I did and I spent lots of money on swim lessons, but here I am last. Then as I've done about 80% of the course having the motorized boat come up and ask me like 5x if I want to abandon the race. I wasn't panicking or stopping, I was just swimming. His hoovering gave me lots of gas fumes to inhale.

If they have mid point cut offs, they should be clear what they are. If you aren't to xxx by this time, you will get pulled out.

In my IM swims I haven't ever been inhibited by the volunteers and they were pretty good at staying off to the side to corral folks.

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